Qualitative and Quantitative Research Designs

Qualitative and quantitative are the common forms of research designs employed in a research process. It is, however, imperative noting that the two research designs are distinct and are used to gain knowledge in a research process. For instance, qualitative research design involves gathering information with a lot of emphasis on describing a specific phenomenon in a broad and a comprehensive manner. In most cases, qualitative design involves exploring life experiences and giving them deeper meaning (Boswell, Boswell & Cannon, 2014).  On the other hand, the quantitative approach involves gathering information with the intention of describing a phenomenon across a larger number of participants thus providing an opportunity for making summaries and conclusions regarding a particular pattern.  It is a more scientific approach where one has to determine the appropriate sample size and means off minimizing statistical error in the design.

In nursing practice, both the qualitative and quantitative research designs can be used depending on the nature of the study. The results from the two research designs have a positive contribution to evidence-based practice. Results from these research processes are used as the basis for clinical process.  It is, however, wise understanding that there are instances where the two designs are used together to enhance the quality of the research process (Keele, 2011). Nevertheless, the choice of which design to use is determined by the nature of research question.

In this case, where we want to identify measures can reduce catheter infections compared to elderly patients to reduce hospital-based infections within a three-month period, quantitative research design will be the best option. This is because it makes use of measurable data used to formulate facts and uncover distinct patterns in the research process. It is also objective, systematic and more scientific as compared to the qualitative design. In addition, the process will also be essential in testing relationships, describe and examine cause and effects thus enabling reaching an informed conclusion (Boswell, Boswell & Cannon, 2014). The contribution of quantitative research to EBP in the nursing practice is inevitable.



Boswell, C., Boswell, C., & Cannon, S. (2014). Introduction to nursing research. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Keele, R. (2011). Nursing research and evidence-based practice. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

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